I lived in one of the most oppressive environments in Modern times, South Africa’s Apartheid regime, where any opinion that confronted Leadership’s authority, dogma and ideology was considered as questionable and behaviorally incorrect with often painful consequences. A position, a title came with power, and with this a need to seek approval – yet deeply embedded within organisations were vast reservoirs of experiential knowledge and inherent in this enormous work experience-untapped resources. I’ve asked myself – is this attitude of absolute power towards building valuable and viable relationships still the way we do business today in the Western World.. and in practice questioned this with leaders and organisations in their own quest for growth. I’ve received tacit feedback from both that they do not see this as a viable pathway to sustaining growth. Conceptualising more viable pathways to leverage the rich resource of managerial experience within their organisations to create new productive services for their businesses would be a priority.
I’ve challenged both leaders and organisations to move away from more traditional top down approaches. More contemporary approaches to the teams, and individuals allows leveraging their experiential knowledge to expand their businesses, rather than believing that formal education alone will create change and growth. Along with this challenge, comes the commitment by leadership, individuals and organisations to create the mental space to question the organisation’s viability and build on this through their own definitions of extra-ordinary performance.
I’ve received feedback from clients who have sustained high growth that rigid expectations of performance imposed top down did not create the organisational awareness of the issues and an openness to be being willing partners that would listen to each other. The change in attitude to a collaborative approach and seeing each other as willing partners, each with a view to learning from each others’ subjective views and exploring gap, by engaging in genuine dialogue, has led to the naming and exploring both the organisations assets and liabilities as a resource for change and growth. Do you lead like this?